Have you ever baked your own bread?

No-Knead Bread - Finished Loaf (294068096)

No-Knead Bread – Finished Loaf (294068096) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve baked bread for years…learned to do it when I was a kid and my grandfather loved the basic white bread I made for him.  He would just rave about it (and what kid doesn’t enjoy that?) and talk about how it was just like what his mom used to make.  For many years, that was the only bread I made…well, that and corn bread.

I love artisan style breads, but always bought them from a bakery.  Sheesh…do you realize how expensive that is?  And being on medical leave has caused me to be just a bit more cautious with my spending.  Who really knows how long I’ll be off work?  I sure don’t want to waste money on things I don’t need, especially things I can make for myself.

I’m on Pinterest and have a bread pinboard…have pinned a ton of recipes but hadn’t tried very many of them.  Until earlier this week when I was out of bread and didn’t feel like going to the store.  Yes, I certainly could have asked someone to pick up a loaf of bread for me, but I hate to ask people to do things like that.  So…I started searching through the recipes I’d pinned.  There were a lot of them that required ingredients I didn’t have on hand…again, didn’t feel like getting out, so I kept searching.  And then I came across a recipe for peasant bread…an easy to mix up recipe with only basic ingredients…and no kneading.  Now there are times that I find kneading bread to be therapeutic, but not when I don’t feel well.  So I decided to give this recipe a try.

It really was so easy…the bread dough was a little stickier than I’m used to, but it didn’t matter.  Let it rise in the mixing bowl, divide it into 1-quart glass baking dishes, let it rise again and bake.  And it’s delicious.  How can you go wrong with a recipe that’s quick and easy and then turns out to be yummy as well?

I’ve been exploring the blog where the recipe was originally published…love it…check it out for yourself…

http://www.alexandracooks.com/2012/11/07/my-mothers-peasant-bread-the-best-easiest-bread-you-will-ever-make/

I’m always amazed at the various talents that people have…this woman is an amazing cook and writes a blog that makes you wish you could be in the kitchen with her.

So…I’ve found another go-to bread recipe..I have a feeling I’ll be making this frequently.  Let me know if you try it, okay?

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When am I going to feel better?

English: Shown is a male technician taking an ...

English: Shown is a male technician taking an x-ray of a female patient. This image was used to demonstrate the myth about exposure to radiation during the x-ray procedure. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When?  I’m so tired of all of this coughing and not being able to breathe.  And, as surprised as I am to say this, I miss work…I miss my work buddies…I miss having a routine…I miss the adrenaline rush of having too much to do (haha).  I wouldn’t have believed that a couple of months ago, but now I see how much I really do like my job.

So…saw a different doctor today…coughing my head off, as has been my daily routine any time I do anything and especially any time I go outside in the cold.  They did several tests in the office, then sent me to the lab for some lab work (one of the things they were testing for was whooping cough…seriously…) then over to the radiology department for x-rays.  I just love having to get x-rays, don’t you?  I always wonder if I’ll start glowing in the dark, hasn’t happened yet though.

Then I had to go pick up more prescriptions, one of which was an inhaler…I really, REALLY don’t like that.  And some of the pills just about gag me trying to swallow them.  Then I stopped at work for a few minutes to fax some paperwork in.  Talked a few minutes to some of my co-workers.  Then decided I needed to get home.

So I’ve been sitting here at home trying to recover from my active day (or at least active compared to how I’ve been living lately).  It’s still painful to breathe, I’m still coughing a lot, and I keep asking myself how much longer it’s going to go on like this…so, hey…if anyone has any positive, healing vibes to send my way, I’ll gladly welcome them.

Sometimes people really do hear what you’re saying

Listen Here!

Listen Here! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you ever noticed that, a lot of the time, people don’t really listen when you talk?  Or that we don’t listen when someone else talks?  I think we’re all guilty of this on occasion.  I know I sometimes catch myself thinking more about myself and how I’m going to respond than actually listening to what the other person is trying to say.

Why do we do this?  Are we trying to figure out what we’re going to say once the other person stops talking?    Are we thinking about what we’re going to do in a few minutes, or hours, or tomorrow?  Are we focusing on something else entirely?    Why can’t we just be still and listen, really listen, to what the person we are with, right now, is saying?  Are we so caught up in ourselves that no one else matters?  And if that’s the case, how in the world did we become such self-centered, selfish people?  And how do we overcome this?

Or is that something that people even care about these days?  Something for us to ponder…and perhaps observe the behavior of people who genuinely hear what others have to say, who honor them by truly listening.  And I’d be willing to bet that they learn much more by actively listening to what others have to say than by plotting out their next comments…just a thought…

Message to a friend

English: Christian Church 1865

English: Christian Church 1865 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve known you for years, since way back when we were young and carefree, not quite as wild as we thought we were, having grown up in small town Indiana.  So…I know in my heart that you’re a good person, that you care about other people, that you wouldn’t really want to do or say something that would hurt someone else.  I know this and yet there are times when I find myself not wanting to be around you, not wanting to listen to what you say as you voice your opinions in what appears to me to be a self-righteous manner.

You vociferously proclaim your Christianity and I have no doubt that you believe yourself to be a true Christian (whatever that may be).  When I listen to you denigrate people who disagree with you, call them names, insult their intelligence, I find myself wondering if you really believe that’s the way to lead people to Christ, which, in my limited knowledge of what being a true Christian entails, is what I thought Christians were supposed to do.  I could be wrong about that having given up on attending church, having given up on organized religion many years ago.  But I think I remember enough about the teachings of Christ to understand that that is what he wants you to do.  And your behavior and attitude do nothing but turn people from the very God you say you serve.

Let me give you just a little background…I stopped attending church because I couldn’t stand to see the way the leaders of the church treated one another.  Sunday mornings they were all pious and devout…then on Monday night, at the church meetings, they were some of the nastiest people I’d ever encountered.  They put each other down, talked trash about the kids of many of the members…were  really as unChristlike as I had ever seen people be.  I was upset all the time, often to the point of tears.  I finally decided I didn’t need to go to church to be spiritual…that church certainly didn’t seem like a place where God would feel welcome.

So it’s possible I’m extra-sensitive to this kind of bullying behavior in church folks…but it doesn’t mean I have to willingly expose myself to it.  When you start talking like this, I will walk away.  For my own protection, I will not allow myself to be insulted, to be patronized, to be told that I’m stupid because I don’t believe the way that you do.  I care about you, but I have to take care of myself.  If that means removing you from my life, then that’s what will happen.  I don’t expect you to change…I don’t even expect that you’ll see yourself in these words.  I’ve noticed that most of us do not see ourselves as others see us…for better or worse.

And you could turn this back around on me and tell me that I’m being judgmental…you could quote scriptures which support your behavior.  Just so you know, I don’t put a lot of stock in anyone’s ability to quote scriptures…having read the Bible, I’ve seen that it’s often contradictory and that we can all cherry-pick verses to support whatever we want at that particular moment in time.  Quoting scriptures doesn’t do a lot for me…how we behave to one another is how I see Christianity on display.  Do we treat one another with respect?  Do we help feed the hungry and heal the sick?  Do we help those who are less fortunate or do we simply pay lip service to it?  Do we profess to know what God would like us to do…as long as it’s in agreement with what we were already planning to do?  Do we stone the wicked women?  Heap blame upon the heads of innocent children because of the actions of their parents?  Do we mistreat people who are different than we are and then feel that we are justified because the Bible tells us so?  Think about the words that have come out of your mouth over the past several months and then come to me and tell me that you honestly believe Jesus would have said the same things.

Am I perfect?  Far from it. I’m probably one of the most imperfect people on the face of the earth.  I’ve done things I regret, said things I had no business saying.  I’ve hurt people.  I’ve turned my back on people in need.  I’ve been selfish and jealous.  I have trouble with forgiveness and there have been times when my pride has been a stumbling block.  Oh my goodness, I know I’m far from perfect and I realize that perfection is unattainable for me.  So I even question who I am to discuss what I see as your shortcomings…and I know that I have no right to advise you on how to behave.  I considered actually talking to you about all of this…but the more I thought about it, the more I thought that I really was in no position to suggest how you should behave when I can’t even behave in the manner I believe I should.  And you hadn’t asked for my opinion.  That’s always been one of my requirements for giving advice…was I asked for it?  No, no I was not.  But then I thought I could write about this…express myself through the written word…not force my opinion and beliefs on you or anyone else.  That’s when I decided to write this post.  I don’t know if you will think this is about you and I guess that isn’t really the point any more.

What I would like to see is perhaps more intentional behavior.  I would like to see us truly considering how our words and our actions impact others.  Do we have to continuously prove that we are right?  That we are more intelligent than others? That only our beliefs matter?  Or can we accept that we are all different, with different beliefs, different lives, different ways of worshipping?  And that those differences don’t make any of us bad or evil, they just make us different?  Is that a possibility or am I asking the same questions that people have asked for all time?  Who am I to say?  Who are any of us to say?

Medical issues still hanging around

L-13-02-05-C-052

L-13-02-05-C-052 (Photo credit: US Department of Labor)

Who would have thought, all those weeks ago when I first got sick, that I’d still be sick in February…the middle of February at that?  But here I am, on medical leave from work trying to regain my health enough to at least be able to go back to work.  Still having respiratory issues, much activity at all and I start this high-pitched coughing…to the point of pain and headache.  We’re still not sure exactly what’s going on…the original diagnosis was acute respiratory infection.  When I looked that up online, it seemed to be kind of a catch-all, covering several different illnesses.  I’ve been seeing my doctor at least once a week…tests, meds, etc. Maybe one of these days we’ll get it figured out…keeping my fingers crossed on that one.

You’d think I’d be able to get a lot done without having to go to work, but you’d be wrong.  I just don’t feel up to doing anything.  I feel like I’ve had a good day when I do dishes and feed the cats.  I haven’t been writing at all…thank goodness for my Kindle…not going to run out of books to read.

A couple of my friends have called, wondering if I needed anything.  So far I’ve been okay…that’s one of the benefits about stocking up on cat food and treats…I’ve been in the habit of stopping at Pet Smart every other week and always buying enough for two weeks and two days…that way I have a stockpile of food for the little darlings in case of an emergency (of course, the emergency I’ve always thought about being prepared for was a severe snowstorm…not sickness).  But to have friends who are thinking about me makes me feel good.  And one of my neighbors told me they were heading out to the grocery store and wondered if I needed them to pick up anything…nice, huh?

It sure would be nice to have all of this time off if I felt like doing anything…of course, if I felt like doing anything, I’d be at work…can’t win that one…

Paleo diet

Paleolithic-style dish: seafood stew

Paleolithic-style dish: seafood stew (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve heard a lot of people talking about the Paleo diet and how good they feel after being on it for a while.  I never really knew exactly what it was, assuming it was about eating unprocessed foods like the cave people did.  But when I looked it up I realized it’s similar to the clean eating diet, except no dairy, no grains…Hey, I know I’d be better off  eating foods that are as close to their natural state as possible, giving up sugar, and of course throwing out the soda.

But…but…no dairy, no grains…does that mean (gasp) no pizza?????  Who could live without pizza?  Like, forever?  And I gotta tell you, I’m not that fond of meat…I’m just not…this may sound crazy, but it makes me feel sluggish and too full for too long.  So I just can’t see myself being able to adhere to that kind of diet for very long.

I have given up dairy milk, I started paying attention a few months ago and realized I felt kind of congested every time I drank a glass of milk.  So I thought I’d do a little home based experiment, see how it would affect me to not drink it for a few weeks.  Didn’t drink any for that time, then started drinking it again and felt the congestion again.  So I decided to give it up…I thought it would be more difficult than it was, I’ve always really, really liked milk.  But I honestly haven’t missed it…I use almond milk on my cereal and like it.

And I’ve been eating more natural foods…a lot more fruits and veggies, I’ve even baked my own bread a couple of times.  Just this morning I baked an English muffin bread and it turned out pretty good…kind of chewy with an English muffin like texture (huh, imagine that!  Maybe that’s why they called it English muffin bread…go figure!). I haven’t given up my diet Pepsi yet, but I know I’m going to have to force myself to do it…nothing good for you in any soda, so that’s on my healthy to-do list.

But I just won’t be following the Paleo diet…clean eating is more my style…or even vegetarian.  What about you?  Do you adhere to a special diet?